Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh adds incentives to strengthen his Himayat initiative for J&K youth
Policymakers in Rural Development Ministry are exploring various options to improve the retention rate of J&K college drop-outs being placed in private sector under ambitious Himayat initiative.
SRINAGAR: Policymakers in Rural Development Ministry are exploring various options to improve the retention rate of J&K college drop-outs being placed in private sector under ambitious Himayat initiative. In the first year only one-third of those given job letters were retained by the market as all others either skipped joining in the first place or quit soon after joining the new job.
In the first year when 1691 of 1992 registered under-grad drop-outs were trained 1245 were given job letters. While only 950 joined, 381 quit the jobs for varied reasons as only 569 are working. It makes a success rate of 33.64 percent. Youth from Jammu exhibited an attrition of 66 percent a compared to 22 percent found in Kashmiris.
“We have actually been on ground for slightly more than six months so a new program will encounter problems,” Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh who presided over a grand function in which additional 500 job letters were given to the trained candiadtes. “We are also learning so when we encounter a problem we manage a response.”
Low success in the first batch is outcome of a number of problems, insiders in the Himayat said. While low wages is the principal factor generally, boy and girls deployed with BPOs and retail chains in Chandigarh and NCR face additional problems of hunting low cost rented rooms and managing the suspicion that is attached with the youth from Kashmir.
“Despite all these problems we have retained 122 boys and girls in Chandigarh and 40 more in NCR,” Jairam said. The minister is planning a dinner meting with these boys and girls in Chandigarh soon after the Eid is over. “Let me talk to them and understand the problems they face so that we do whatever s possible,” the minister said.
Jairam announced change in the post placement support (PPS) to these candidates. “Earlier we used to give them Rs 1000 a month for two months and now we will be providing them Rs 2000 per month for six months,” Jairam announced at the function. There is serious thinking going on within the RD ministry about what else these boys and girls should get an incentive so that they stay put at the places of their appointment so that they become role models for others to trigger a snowballing effect.
The Rs 235 crore Himayat (actually Skill, Empowerment and Employment) scheme is an ambitious idea suggested by of a committee that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh set up under Dr C Rangarajan’s leadership aimed at crating 100 thousand job in five years. Targeted at school dropouts to college educated from BPL and non-BPL categories, the scheme offers aspirants tailor made crash courses for salaried jobs in private sector within and outside J&K. Centrally Sponsored Swaranjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY), otherwise restricted to the BPL population, was slightly amended to become the main resource base for the new initiative.
Himayat is being implemented through project implement agencies (PIAs) who get Rs 23000 per head for identifying, training and finally placing a candidate in the market. The new changes effected in the scheme by Jairam makes it mandatory for all PIAs to make all the candidates computer literate and hand-hold them till they are firmly placed.
The scheme took off with ILFS Skill School and Don Basco Technology Institute last year. With the joining of two more PIAs the CAP Foundation and India Can Education, the number of training centres ha gone up to 40 in 28 blocks. “We are empaneling more companies and by next three years we should have a training centre in every block of the state,” K Vijay Kumar, the Joint Secretary RD who is in-charge of the program said. More PIAs mean opening of more sectors.
Earlier, the emphasis was on retail but now the trainings are diversified as courses for BPO, hardware, healthcare, fashion are also offered. While 2431 youth have already been trained so far, the target for 2012-13 is 7000 youth. Immediate priority with the PIAs is to manage placement with local companies across J&K which seems the most preferred option with their trainees.
Hiamayat cousin Udaan being implemented by Home Ministry is yet to take off at a grand scale. Aimed at training and absorbing 40 thousand graduates and post-graduates with MNCs and blue-chips, the government will offer companies training costs on the condition that they absorb them after they are fully trained.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was part of an Udaan function in Kolkata last week when the first batch selected under the programme completed their training. “I was amazed what I saw after they encountered another culture,” Omar said. “In the first batch of 70 there was not a single girl and 96 percent of them got jobs strictly on basis of their merit,” Omar said. “Now I am told there are nearly 20 girls in the second batch of 70.” Omar said the youth in J&K neither lack talent nor behavior. “They lack opportunity and exposure.”